biltmore houseThe first Vanderbilt to arrive in the United States was Jan Aertson Van Derbilt, a dutch farmer who arrived in the United States in the late 17th century. The family followed in agricultural roots until Cornelius Van Derbelt transformed the family into one of the most famous American families of all time, as well as one of the wealthiest.

Born in 1794, the Vanderbilt rise to fortunes began when Cornelious borrowed $100 from his mother to purchase a small sailing vessel. He began operating a ferry business, and by the end of the second year, he had grown his fleet to 3 ships. With this small act of capitalism and entrepenuership, the wealth of the Vanderbilt family begins.

Cornelius then capitalized on the advantages of steam-ships compared to sailing vessels. He quickly amassed a fleet of steam-ships, and soon was a major influence in the commerce of New York City. He then turned his attentions to the railways, and before long held control of almost all major rails between New York City and the Great Lakes.

Cornelius then began a family tradition of financial contributions to differnet organizations. He donated $1,000,000 to Central University of the United Methodist Episcopal Church of the South, in Nasheville, Tennessee. The university showed its thanks by renaming itself to Vanderbilt University.

William Henry Vanderbilt was Cornelius' fourth child and first son. Growing up, he was quiet, patient, and conservative, and did not show early signs that he would posess the business acumen of his heirs. He began working for a bank at age 18, but became ill and through a physician's recommendation, moved to the isolated area of Staten Island. William managed the family farm on Staten Island for 20 years, but had an itch to enter his father's industry. In 1864, he moved his family to New York and took an active role in his father's empire.

William learned the business and slowly gained his father's confidence. His prior experience in the banking industry helped the Railroad and other Vanderbilt holding soar to even gretare success. Like his father, he continued the tradition of donating money to worthy causes. He also developed a great interest in the arts, and this interest led to the founding of The Metropolitan Opera House. In December of 1885, William dies suddenly from heart failure at his New York home.

William's youngest son, George Washington Vanderbilt III, was born in the Staten Island farmhouse in 1862. Like his father growing up, he was very shy and quiet, and showed no interest in business affairs. However, also like his father, he took a strong interest in the arts and began collecting books and artifacts at an early age.

George had visited Asheveille, NC with his mother before her death, and decided to build a refuge from the city life of New York. During the 5 years of construction, George married a French lady, and they had their only child, a baby daughter named Cornelia, in 1900.

The Vanderbilts were adored by the people of Asheville, as they spent much of their time trying to assist people in the community. George Vanderbilt managed the estate until his death in 1914. In 1924, Cornelia Vanderbilt married John Francis Amherst Cecil, and has two sons born at Biltmore. Their youngest son, William, operated the estate until 1995. Since then, Bill Cecil, a Harvard graduate, has continued the family tradition and has expanded Biltmore to the point where more than 1,000,000 people visit the estate every year.

<-- The Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore House is located about 60 miles from Cherokee Cabin. It is one of the most visited historical sites in America, and we definitely recommend a trip to Asheville during your stay at our cabin rental. There is a lot to do at the estate, so we recommend making a day of it and planning to spend at least 6 hours at Biltmore House.